Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Totally Gross

I am generally not a super-squeamish parent. I am pretty much at the bottom of the germa-phobe totem pole. If something doesn't look real dirty, then I am usually okay with it. Yes, I recognize that some of the more nasty bacteria like E. Coli and Salmonella can't be seen, and should still be feared. And for that I keep my gigantic warehouse store size of Lysol wipes at the ready. But general dirt and grime don't really skeeve me out (a quick visit to my house on a bad day can really drive this point home).

I am also not easily shaken when my kids suffer the customary scrapes and bruises of childhood. Of course, I feel bad for my little tikes when they rip all the skin off their knee or pick at a bug bite til it bleeds, but it doesn't make me feel ill or anything, to look at their wounds. I can administer first aid like a good Girl Scout, and I rarely have to look away.

What I have discovered about myself, however, is that anything that has to do with the mouth, makes me squirm. I first started to realize this about myself when Little Diva suffered her "tongue injury" last winter.

Now it is becoming more evident as I am faced with LOOSE TEETH in Little Diva's precious, little (though sometimes sassy) mouth.  The whole tooth-hanging-by-thread thing sends shivers up my spine.

She has already lost two baby teeth, and thankfully, managed to get them out herself. It wasn't even that big of a production (especially for her). Except of course, that the first one happened to be extracted on Christmas Eve, so the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus had to orchestrate their travels very carefully that evening.

But that was months ago, and now she is working on the big guys up front. And one of them is really ripe for the picking.


That thing is hanging on for dear life, moving this way and that, and every time she says, "Look at it, now, Mom," I start to sweat. I am oddly fascinated by the whole thing, but am thoroughly grossed out when I see that wee little tooth, dangling sideways from the socket.

Why doesn't she just pull the darn thing out?? Well, she says it hurts when she twists it a certain way. More chills down my spine. And oh, yeah, did I mention, there is some blood? I can stomach gaping wounds in an arm, a leg, even a bloody nose, but one glimpse of that bloody (literally) tooth, and I nearly pass out.

The only thing that makes the situation even slightly tolerable, is when she hangs that dangling tooth over her lip, and busts out her best British accent to say, "I am Nanny McPhee". That one had us rolling on the floor. I don't know where she comes up with this stuff.

Is it true that some parents can actually manage to pull their kids teeth out for them? Well, yes, I know it is, because I am pretty sure I remember my mom doing it for me.

Not this momma, oh no! I would bring her to the dentist, $50 co-pay and all, before I yanked that thing out myself.

How about you? Is pulling out your kids' loose tooth something you have (or could have) done?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Those Tough Choices

Here's is how decision-making goes around here:

Mommy 2.0: Should I make a regular piñata or a pull-string piñata for The Baby's 2nd birthday party?

Sweet Hubby: Um, probably a pull-string.

M2.0: Why? A regular one will be much easier to make

SH: No, it will too hard for the kids to break. They are too little.

M2.0: But they can use one of your golf clubs, and the grown-ups can help them (Can you tell that I really don't feel like figuring out the whole piñata-trap door-string thing?)

SH: So, you know that there is only going to be one kid who can actually hit the piñata alone, and then Little Diva is going to freak out because she didn't get to hit the piñata by herself, and she is going to say "no fair!" then she and her friend are going to say they aren't friends anymore, then they are going to pout at each other for the next hour.

M2.0: Maybe you're right. Maybe we should do a pull-string.

Sometimes it really helps to listen to the voice of reason.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

No Rest for the Weary

I just cannot nap. I know there is an entire sub-culture of adult nappers out there who are rubbing the sleep out of their well-rested eyes and shaking their heads at me, but it is an undeniable truth.

On the rare occasion that I let myself lay down for a midday siesta, I inevitably regret it. First of all, I may be dead tired and falling asleep standing up at the sink full of dishes, but the second I climb into bed or curl up on the couch, I get my second wind. My mind starts racing through a million and one random trains of thought and I find it hard to get to sleep. I will have to set an alarm, because once I do go to sleep, my body assumes I am down for the count, and would go a good four hours before realizing that I have slept through then end of The Baby's nap,  missed pick-up at school, and dozed right through dinner. That would not be good. But eventually, the sleep deprivation will win out, and I will drift off.

Once the alarm goes off, no matter how well I have chosen a soothing yet rousing sound, I am jolted out of deep slumber, and feel completely disoriented and unwell. In fact, I can liken my state of being after a nap, to a hangover, without the good time. I am usually sweating, shaking and my head aches dully.  I do not feel refreshed or reinvigorated. Instead, I am trying to figure out exactly how many minutes of snooze I can get away with without running late for any afternoon obligations.

Usually my inability to nap is not detrimental in any way. In fact, it typically allows me to be productive during the baby's nap time, either getting household chores done (which do not get done at any other time, so this is a must!) or spending the one-on-one time so desperately craved by Little Diva when she is off from school, that she starts asking around 9:30AM if it is The Baby's nap time yet.

But on days like today, a nap would be nice, if I knew I would not feel like zombie after. By "days like today" I specifically mean days after a night when The Baby doesn't sleep well at all. I mean when she has woken up at midnight. And at one. And then has been up for two hours straight from 2AM-4AM followed by tossing and turning (and pinching and kicking) next to me in my bed after that for the rest of the "night".

I mean days like today when it is rainy. And dreary. And The Baby is sleeping. And the housework is done. Well, as done as it gets without actually pulling out the vacuum, a mop or the can of dusting spray. In other words, done enough for a Tuesday.

But I better not nap. I will sit on the couch and flip through the new issues of Parenting and Entertainment Weekly. My eyes will get heavy. My head will start to nod. And I might close my eyes for just one minute. And I might just forget that I won't feel good when I wake up . . . zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

But then the rally cry from the nursery will sound. There is no rest for the weary. And it will be time to start Part 2 of our day, the afternap afternoon. Thank goodness for Double Espresso!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Nothing's Free in this World, Kid (Except for Tote Bags)

As a full time at-home mom, I consider it one of my biggest responsibilities to seize the "teachable moments" as they present themselves. As a result, I probably beat a dead horse over-explain everything all the time. I really cannot help it. I always feel compelled to find the lesson in the situation, and relate it to whatever we have going on.

It is completely gratifying to see some of these efforts pay off from time to time. Let me share the story of how Little Diva is evolving into a genius of pragmatism.
<insert image of tongue in cheek here>

So, I will admit, I am rather frazzled hurried on a regular basis. My mission is to get from point A to point B with two girls in tow without 1) having them bicker with each other 2) buying them the various candies/toys/crap that they beg me for on every venture 3)having the whole affair spiral downward into a crying hissy-fit meltdown that typically results from numbers 1 or 2.

Today's "quick" trip to the grocery store was no different. After grabbing the few things we needed, plus some random package of chocolate covered wafer cookies that I caved on, we sailed through checkout. Little Diva was still rambling on about something she started in on in the Produce department, but I pushed ahead. I had The Baby in her stroller, basically because she is now prone to attempting swan dives out the grocery cart since mastering the release on the safety belt. To keep her occupied, she had brought half the toy box, and had various stuffed dogs, blankies and dolls wedged in around her.

As I made a beeline for the door, we passed a display of Kiwi fruit, at which point Little Diva perked up again, and said, "Look, Mommy, this is what I wanted". I mumbled my usual, no honey, not today, and then saw that The Baby had dropped one of the dolls. I called back to Little Diva, who was about 5 paces behind me to pick her up and out the door we went. As we got outside, Little Diva said, "But Mom, don't we have to pay for it?" I spun around and saw that she was not holding Balen, the Baby Doll, but rather one of the coveted Kiwi fruits.

Um yeah. We do have to pay for that, and where is the doll I told you to pick up. Huh? Oh I thought you said just pick one up. Oops.

Poor thing turned about 5 shades of red, and almost walked back in through the "out" door to get that stolen fruit back on the stand. There was also a really confused customer walking towards us with Balen the Baby Doll in hand as we rushed back in.

Over dinner at the pizza joint next door, I complimented Little Diva on asking me about paying for the Kiwi, instead of just walking out without paying for it. I told her that I am glad she understands that it is wrong to take something that you haven't paid for.

A few minutes later, she noticed some cookies that being prepped for the counter display. She asked if she could have one because it looked like they were free. I said, oh no, you have to pay for everything here. She asked if I had paid for the bag of chips she was devouring instead of her pizza. I said yes, and then quipped, "Nothing is free in this world, kid".

With a knowing tone, she repeated it back to me, "That's right, mom. Nothing is free. Well, except for Tote Bags. They always seem to be free".
Tote Bags. They always seem to be free.
It is at moments like these, that I remember, that I am learning as much from my kids, as they are from me. And it almost always makes me smile.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Being a Mean Mommy

It's nice to be writing again after a summer away. Before you get any ideas about glamorous holidays abroad or anything, my summer away was more of figurative getaway (with a few, but not nearly enough, glorious weekends at the Jersey Shore). Mostly, I just unplugged a little. I cannot credit any sort of "I-think-summer-should-be-about-more-than-Facebook-status-updates" attitude. Truthfully, I just don't have a laptop, and blogging from the iPhone is a royal PIA. But anyway . . . as expected, a summer with my two girls provided many experiences to reflect upon.

I knew that giving birth to two girls would eventually lead to tense mother-daughter relations somewhere down the line. I think it is pretty much a given that estrogen-fueled battles of words and of wills will ensue at some point along the journey, most likely in the tween or teen years, or so I thought. I never really considered that I would find myself in power struggles with a five going-on-sixteen six-year old.

My first big parental veto occurred this summer in the form of saying "no" to a collection of TV shows from the increasingly (and somewhat alarmingly) precocious Disney Channel. At first, I found the shows to be harmless, even enjoyed them myself, truth be told. Standard tween fare involving an assortment of sassy girls and boys, with a variety of clever life situations to keep a five year old intrigued - a new baby sister, special magic powers, starring on your own dance show. But what I noticed after a while, was that my own Little Diva's attitude and communication choices were starting to feel like something straight out of the scripts of any one of these shows. My sweet girl was talking back more, getting pouty more, engaging in sassy play with her Barbies and/or Little People. I didn't really like where this was going.

I realized I was going to have to make the unpopular decision to pull the plug on what had become her TV lineup. I knew it was going to be tough, and understood that I should have been more vigilant from the start, thereby avoiding her exposure to these shows altogether, but what was done was done. This style of TV may be perfectly fine for other families, but a parent knows their child best, and in our case, it was not a good fit for her personality and tendencies toward imitation and repetition.

As a sidebar, I have since discovered a resource to help me navigate the tricky task of deciding what are and what are not acceptable media choices based on age. It is a website called Common Sense Media.  It breaks down the content of games, movies and TV shows, and makes age recommendations. Ultimately, it is up to me and Sweet Hubby as parents, to make the call, but it is very helpful to get other perspectives and know what your kids are going to see before they see it.

With little fanfare, I told Little Diva that we were going to take a break from these shows for a while. As an explanation, which she had of course "requested", I explained that sometimes the characters and ideas of the shows didn't seem to be good examples for her, and that sometimes watching shows like this might make little kids her age act in ways that were not good. She was really disappointed. We found some other programming that was more appropriate and she was appeased momentarily.

In the weeks that have ensued, there has been an almost constant barrage of pleas to "please, please, please watch just one show" but I have held firm. She takes it as an almost personal insult that I continue to say no. I see that this is only a mere glimpse into our future of our mother-daughter negotiations, but I am inwardly pleased at my resolve. I have come to realize that it is more satisfying to labor through the arguments, but stand my ground, than to relent to the pressures, and forsake my ideology.

I am not sure how some mommies get by, without ever having to be the "mean mommy", but I know they are out there. I have to accept that I will never be one of them and deal with the occasional dirty looks, and hours (weeks? months?) of silent treatment.

How about you? Ever had to be a "mean mommy" or are you and your little ones BFFs 24/7?